Location:Shark Bay, WA
What We Did:
This morning we drove from Denham over to Monkey Mia to witness the dolphin feeding. Since we’d be taking a 3 hour catamaran ride after, we decided it best that Gali sit this one out. Every morning, up to 10 dolphins will swim right to the beach and interact with visitors at the Monkey Mia beach resort. We’d been told that feeding the dolphins was something we had to do, and Raquel was super excited to stand at the shore edge with dolphins swimming in the shallow area just a few metres from her. This interaction with the resident bottlenose dolphins has been happening for decades, but researchers discovered it was having a terrible impact on the dolphins themselves. As such, the interaction is strictly controlled, the dolphins are quickly only fed 10% of their daily diet, and just four visitors are chosen by rangers to drop a fish in the mouth of a dolphin. It’s important for the well being of the animals, but Raquel wasn’t the only one crushed with disappointment when she wasn’t selected (no kids were for some reason). She was consoled by large pelicans hanging about, and was in better spirits back aboard the Shotover catamaran, with the friendly Captain Toby and James. Pretty soon she’d made friends with a little girl named Alice, who lived in Perth but whose parents are Brazilian. These two are peas in a pod! After seeing dugongs and dolphins, Alice whipped out her dolls and together they played Frozen for hours! Raquel was brave enough to join Dad for a swim in the sea, jumping off the catamaran, Alice and her parents came to Denham after lunch, and the two continued to play and dance and quibble and giggle like lifelong buddies.
What We Ate:
Raquel had spaghetti and meatballs for lunch, and grilled fish and chips for dinner. Dad had a weird Baja beef taco salad that was basically nachos, and Cat had a far more successful panko crusted prawns from Exmouth. Mom had the burger and a beer special at the Old Pub in Denham, and learned that Caesar salad in Australia is served with a poached egg. Gali had bits of everything.
My Favourite Pictures Today
Where We Slept:
The Shark Bay Inn Hotel. Dad quite enjoys working in the adjacent Old Pub, listening to hard rock on the jukebox. it makes him feel like a wind-burned author (if only the Scotch wasn’t so expensive!) Raquel isn’t drinking enough water no matter how much we encourage her. Last night she woke up thirsty five times, which woke us up five times, which made it a pretty rough night. Some mornings it feels like we’re running on faith and eye crust. The self serve continental breakfast in Room 9 is great for the kids.
That commercializing animal encounters can be complicated. That dolphins are identified and named by their fins. That pelicans are funny old birds. That other kids toys will always be the best. That dugongs are also called sea cows, graze on meadows of sea grass and breach for air every few minutes. That 5pm is now officially Raquel’s witching hour. That Gali is putting rocks in his mouth and we have to be on him like a hawk. That there hasn’t been a shark attack in Shark Bay since the 1930’s. That a huge expansion development in Monkey Mia is probably going to change things around here in a major way. That over 700 people crowd on the beach to see the dolphin feeding over Easter. Today there were about 20.
Reflection of the Day
The Best Part:
Making a new friend and playing with her all day!
The Worst Part:
Not being picked to feed the dolphin.
We'll Always Remember
- Name: Toby
- Favourite Place: Mauritius
- I Love Travel Because: if you're into it, you can really go deep in a culture.
- My Advice for Kids: As you grow older, your best friends will change. When you come out of high school, the world's a different place.
- Name: Marcelo and Ana
- Favourite Place: Fernando de Noronha
- I Love Travel Because: Nature, the ocean, to scuba dive.
- My Advice for Kids: Enjoy life, but also have some commitment.
Today's Random Thing
A Note from Mom and Dad
Raquel has been starving for friendship since we left. It’s been difficult in that we’re not around kids for too long, and not long enough in one confined place for them to get to know each other. We and she so much appreciated finding a little Brazilian girl of the same height and spirited nature, and her parents were lovely too. It was great to see their imaginations at work – with the dolls, making up stories and dancing in happiness as only Brazilian girls can. Dad was impressed that Raquel jumped into the sea with him (“technically, you can’t get more shark-infested than these waters!”) and took on a monster tube slide in the playground on Denham beach all by herself. Travel, as we noted only yesterday, is making her significantly bolder. Gali had a relaxing day, a long three hour afternoon nap, and looked a little longer this morning after a late night growth spurt. We’re slathering ourselves in sun block but we’re all getting too much sun. Tomorrow we head south again where it will start to get a little cooler and less humid.